25 February 2007

Price paid ...

Yesterday the price for the beautiful snowfall I’ve been enjoying the last few days came due. The wood-ring by the stove was empty, the last stove-length burning merrily away. There was no way around it. It was time to shovel my way to the stacked, tarped, snow-covered wood pile (the photo) sprinkle de-icer and cart several loads inside.

Mr. Wren was recently disabled by osteoarthritis, along with old injuries received while he was in the Army years ago, so this is no longer a job he can do. (Well, he can in a pinch, but the groaning!) So I did it, bundled into snow-boots, hat and gloves. It took me about an hour – not bad, if I do say so myself – and when I was finished, the wood-ring was filled and I’d worked up quite a sweat.

They say heating with wood warms you twice – the first time is while as you cut and stack the wood, the second when you burn it. I’ll add a third time – when you shovel a path throught the snow to the wood so you can carry it inside.

There’s another storm coming through. Right now, we’re back to that “wintery mix” of rain and snow, so a lot of the snow that had already fallen has melted or turned to slush. Later today it’s supposed to start snowing again and could keep on, I hear, until sometime tomorrow.

As I ate an egg on toast this morning – our hens are inexplicably producing more eggs again; it must be the lengthening days, not the weather that makes them do it – I noticed that we were just about out of bread, along with milk for cereal. While we could undoubtedly live without both, I’d miss the bread for my afternoon sandwich and Mr. Wren would miss the milk, since he’s the big cereal-eater around here.

I should, I thought a little glumly, get to the grocery store, particularly since there’s more snow in the forecast. A lot more. Might be several days before we can get out without having to chain up a car.

This presented a small conundrum. Both cars are parked under the carport at the bottom of our very steep driveway, and there’s still about 4 inches of wet, heavy snow covering most of it. I could get out there and shovel the whole thing – not a pleasant prospect – or I could bundle up and hike the half-mile or so to the little mom-and-pop store here in town.

So that’s what I did. While Mr. Wren watched the Gardening Guy on HGTV, dreaming of late spring and summer, I pulled on coat, boots, hat and gloves again and set out through the wind and rain/snow for the wee store, hoping that the weather hadn’t kept them from getting deliveries, or that my neighbors hadn’t stocked up on bread and milk for the duration, facing me with empty shelves when I got there.

It was a good walk, enjoyable in spite of getting wet, fun to slumphhh my boots into the snow, slush and puddles knowing that they’re good boots, nice and warm, and completely waterproof. The air was icy cold and invigorating. The smoke rising from the chimneys of the little old mill cottages that make up most of the village (this used to be a lumber-mill town and still is, for many of the residents) looked quaint and inviting. A raven flew over, croaking.

The return trip got me puffing – it’s uphill – but Mr. Wren opened the door for me when I reached the house. I handed him the bag with the loot and stripped off my sodden hat and coat. It was warm inside – the stove is burning nicely – and I could smell coffee brewing. I’ve just bought a couple more days worth of lazy snow-ecstacy. It’s Sunday, I’m relaxed and comfortable, Mr. Wren is snoozing and the cat is in meatloaf position on my lap while the dog sleeps in the doorway, guarding me from possible attack by ninja intruders.

What more could a Wren ask for?


Mike Kretzler said...

Nice description of a nice interlude. We haven't had a comparable snow storm up here in Puget Sound (though the mountains have mountains). A nice snow storm in a cozy house with heat is much more comfortable than what we had in December, a major power outage. Fortunately, our specific power was only out a day and a half, but others were out for over a week.

Dragon Laugh said...

I wish I was up there playing with Psychomutt in the snow! As it is, it actually snowe d abit down here, right at the apartment! Not much, of course, and by the end of the day it was back to rain again so most of it melted away, but WOW. That was unexpected. It is nice, though, that Winter has finally decided to grace the foothills.

Throw a snowball or three at Psychomutt for me, k?

Kevin Wolf said...

My inanate laziness aside, you made me miss that moment when you get back inside after outdoor exercise, especially in the cold. Seemed that was the norm for me, everyday, as a kid.